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Seating arrangements in the classroomI have chosen to do my independent research article on seating arrangements in the classroom, because I feel that the way your students are seated can play a vital role in your classroom dynamic and also the classroom environment. There are many seating arrangements for teachers to choose from cluster, rows, semi-circle, pairs and centers or activity zones to name a few. How will you as a teacher know which seating arrangement is best for you? Well, I would personally say that each teacher will develop their own seating arrangement according to their needs, the needs of their students and the activity at hand. The size of your classroom would also be an important factor to consider as some of the above mentioned seating arrangements take up more space in the classroom. I would also recommend that the teacher ask herself or himself the following questions before deciding on a seating arrangement: ?Does this activity rely on group work??, ?As the teacher, would I have to move around the classroom for this activity and monitor the students??, ?Do my students need to be able to see the whiteboard or other teaching visual aids in this lesson??, Where are the windows situated in the classroom??. ?Would it be easier for me as the teacher to hand out the papers for this activity or will it be okay if the students just pass the papers around?? and lastly ?Do I have students in my classroom that might need individual attention, or a student with special needs??. There are five most common seating arrangements and each of them have their strong points and their weak points and they all work best in different situations. The first seating arrangement I would like to discuss is the cluster arrangement. This arrangement is formed when desks are put in a cluster (usually around 4 or 5 desks in a cluster) around the classroom. A cluster arrangement would work well in group work settings as it encourages conversation and interaction. The teacher also has space to move around and can therefore monitor the classroom behavior. Another benefit of this arrangement is that the teacher can divide the students into mixed clusters so that every cluster has a student of a different language level working within that group. That way student can help each other and also help build each other up. This type of arrangement would not work in a test situation. The desk row arrangement is more traditional and is probably the most common. This is formed when desks are equally spaced from one another and they all face the front of the classroom where the teacher is sitting or where the whiteboard is located. This arrangement can be restricting to the students and to the teacher as the teacher is not able to move around as freely and the students can find it challenging to interact with one another. This arrangement however would be perfect for a whiteboard work, a direct instruction activity, test or individual activity. The teacher can also monitor this arrangement from the front or the classroom. Semi circle or horse shoe arrangement is also often used. This arrangement is formed when all the desks face a central point in the classroom (Usually the whiteboard or the teacher). In this arrangement the teacher can see all the students and all the students can see one another, this arrangement can be used for many activities, individual, whole class or even paired work as students are fairly close to one another. Monitoring is also easy for the teacher and he/she also has full control of the classroom. However this arrangement would be difficult to co-ordinate in a small classroom and if there is a large number of students. Pair arrangements are probably just as popular as the hose-shoe arrangement. Desks are placed in pairs all over the classroom all facing the front. This arrangement allows the teacher to move around freely giving special attention to the pairs that need it. This arrangement is obviously better for pair work but can also be used for tests and individual work. Before putting students in pairs the teacher should just make sure that the pairs work well together and complement one another. Being grouped in a pair with someone who you don?t work well with can be a nightmare. The students can also see the whiteboard very easily and this arrangement helps teach students responsibility for their actions and behavior, they cannot just sit and chat to their pair they need to do some work too. I would recommend that a teacher rotate his/her seating arrangement and changes it up a bit often. That way student?s get to work with different students all the time and they get to know their other peers to they shouldn?t only work with the same pair or same cluster week after week. Interaction in the classroom is important and it?s vital that students learn to communicate with others. If the teacher is planning on teaching in a foreign country I would advise them to also consider what seating arrangement would be appropriate with that culture. Not all cultures would approve of woman and men working together in pair for example. Be considerate. Reference: www4.u.s..edu/education/pshaw/seating%20Arrangements.html www.dummies.com/how-to/content/rookie-teaching-technique-choosing-a-seating-arran.htm www.tesolonline.com/tesol-articles/seatingarrnagement-in-the-classroom/. www.teflcorp.com/articles/101-tefl-seating-arrangents-in-the-classroom/296-seating-arrangements-in-the-classroom.htm